Volunteer Stories

A Spiritual Journey of the Heart and Soul

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh If you are familiar with the Langley Hospice Society, there is a strong possibility that you have also heard of Thornton Smith. As one of our esteemed volunteers of the past fifteen years, Thornton has participated in and supported a variety of services and events. From serving as a past treasurer of our Board of Directors, to providing support in palliative and bereavement settings, and more recently, participating in the creation of our beautiful children’s garden – it is not exaggerating to state that Thornton has done it all. Thornton attributes his interest in volunteering to when he first began to lend his support at a residential home for the physically disabled in England. After he moved to Canada and created a lovely family, Thornton began to serve on our Board of Directors...

A Change in Perspective

“What do you want? I don’t want any more people poking at me. Go away!”  The words stung, but I managed to say in a calm, quiet voice, “I’m not a nurse. I’m a volunteer and I just wanted to see if there was anything I could do for you.”  “Yeah! You can *$#!’ well leave me alone!” Respecting the patient’s wishes as I was taught I turned and walked away, but I was shocked by her harsh response and even a little angry. Since beginning my hospice work five years ago, this was one of the few times I’d truly been upset by a patient. Intellectually, I knew her mood was understandable - she was dying of cancer - but emotionally I still found it hard to deal with. All I wanted to do was help. The nurses told me not to concern myself – she was like that with everyone, but I decided to try again later anyway; maybe after lunch she’d be feeling better. Unfortunately, I received the same blast of invective then. I’d experienced anger from patients before. There are always a few who are...

The Perfect Fit

After the passing of my husband Pat, I began seeking supportive services through Langley Hospice Society. After a few sessions, a volunteer opportunity at the Second Story Thrift Store was recommended to me as a way to assist me during my grieving and to help me out of my “solitary confinement”. I heard of the wonderful people and vision that the store entailed and the important sense of contribution volunteering provides. Although I was hesitant at first, as this would be my first experience as a volunteer, I conjured up the courage to fill out an application. Soon after the interview process, I found myself working and laughing amongst the warm-hearted individuals at Second Story Treasures. The brilliant cohesion and genuine care demonstrated amid the volunteers and staff provided me with the normality I was seeking and helped me build my confidence on a daily basis. Initially given the task of repairing and cleaning jewellery, I received a quick “promotion” to pricing and...

From the Heart…

I worked as a scheduler for a Home Support Agency where Home Support Workers would go into the homes helping people with their care and maintaining their independence. During this time, there was a new program brought in called the Palliative Program where the Home Support Workers would go into the homes of terminally ill patients again helping them stay in their homes with the help of trained workers and nurses. I would listen to the worker’s heartwarming stories, sad and happy, and decided I would like to do something in that field when I retired. I started volunteering with Langley Hospice Society in the office. Having that experience with hospice helped me make up my mind to take the hospice basic training course. I did so at the start for personal reasons but then after listening to other volunteers talking about their experiences at the Residence I asked to be a volunteer. I have never before been so privileged as to be a part of such a lovely experience. I was very nervous at...

The Circle of Life

Not too long ago I had a wonderful experience that reminded me of how important nature is to me and many others. I was on my regular walk in the middle of the city, enjoying the songs and flights of finches and swallows in the unusually peaceful confines of a nature trail by the Langley airport. It’s a surprising oasis, being as it lies between two busy roads, the Fraser Hwy. and 56th Avenue; but it offers me a chance to get some exercise and thinking time. As I sauntered along the trail, I glanced up to my right to a small rise above the track and saw two beautiful deer standing there watching me; both young – one doe and one buck. I continued to walk slowly along the trail until they were within 25 to 30 feet of me; then I stood perfectly still. For at least 30 seconds, I felt them consider me; communing with me through large luminous eyes. I was awestruck. When they turned and walked calmly away, I knew somehow they had accepted me. I had been given a gift; one that filled me with...

Musical Interludes at the Hospice Residence

My name is Paul Helliwell-Hargreaves and I am 64 years old. I have been volunteering for Langley Hospice Society at Langley Hospice Residence as a musician for a good part of a year. I play an acoustic guitar and sing songs like ballads, folk, western, rock, old time, and gospel. If you are familiar with the Hospice Residence, I play by the memorial table in front of the nurses’ station. The acoustics are so good the sound carries to the end of the corridor. If anyone wants me to play in their room, then I will. I’ve had no formal training dealing with death in the Hospice but for 12 years I did volunteer at Delta View SCU playing for residents with dementia. My uncle/godfather, a resident, eventually died there. I was asked to play for an elderly gentleman and his family, and was asked if I knew “The Red River Valley “(a favourite western song of the gentleman’s). Quite often when I’m singing I don’t really listen to the words, but this time the importance of the words impacted us...

Volunteering at the Langley Hospice Society

Recently, I worked for several years in retail; I was good at it, but I found that the work had little meaning for me. I wanted my efforts to be purposeful. Before I had my kids, I worked as an administrative assistant for a non-profit organization. There I felt needed, an equal part of a team working to help others. I wanted to do so again. I went back to school to update my skills and, needing current office experience, I started looking for volunteer opportunities. I found just what I needed; the Langley Hospice Society, a non-profit organization that uses volunteers in its office. I was immediately impressed by the inclusiveness shown on the volunteer application form as it made clear that any applicant from any background would be considered. My kind of place! So here I am, again a part of a team, warmly welcomed by people who share my values, working together to help those who need us. Heather Frenette Supportive Programs Centre Office Volunteer

The Top 10 Reasons I Volunteer at the Langley Hospice Second Story Treasures Thrift Store

1. I respect and admire the work that Langley Hospice Society does. 2. I love volunteering because it is my chance to give something back to the community. 3. I like the management and the fact that they are well-organized. 4. I like my fellow volunteers.  We have fun! 5. I enjoy meeting new people. 6. I am proud of Wayne, my husband, who is Mr. Fix It at the store on Monday mornings. 7. I am a shopper who loves clothes and each day I am impressed with the quality of the donations that    come in the door. Note:  I must wait, like everyone else, to purchase any item after it has been priced and displayed in the store. 8. I get out of the house. 9. I get a coffee break - often with goodies! 10. I feel appreciated. Colleen McLaren Second Story Treasures Thrift Store Volunteer

Being a Hospice Volunteer

When my beloved husband was dying of colon cancer in1998, after an almost five-year struggle, Dorscie Paterson from Langley Hospice Society reached out to me, in Langley Memorial, and made me aware of this wonderful group. Each evening when I returned home from the hospital, there was an encouraging message from Dorscie that really helped ease my pain and grief.... I decided then that I wanted to know more about and become involved with "this Hospice stuff". After taking the hospice training, my first job as a volunteer was working in the office, answering the phones, and running off thousands of pages of Hospice Brochures to be distributed throughout the community. From there I started doing "One on One" visiting in the home with our bereavement clients. This led me into Palliative Care in the Hospital, and then into our beautiful Hospice Residence visiting the patients. The years have flown by and I have met the most delightful people along the way, including the patients and their...

The Hospice Experience – From An Office Volunteer

When I retired two years ago this month, I knew I wanted to continue to contribute to my community in some way. Having worked as a Public Health Nurse for 30 years, I had experienced the satisfaction and rewards of working with people to make a difference in their lives. At the same time, I wanted to do something that I didn't have to "carry home with me". Langley Hospice Society office receptionist is the perfect answer. I know I am making a difference each Wednesday afternoon when I answer the phones, type articles, enter data, put together folders for group sessions, fold brochures and even take out the recycling. I enjoy working with the staff who are always friendly and appreciate whatever I do. Learning new skills on the computer and mastering the simple phone system has been fun. I am also surprised each week to learn how rich and deep the Hospice services are and how many families and individuals who are suffering from loss are served. The staff are caring and creative in...

SECOND STORY TREASURES THRIFT STORE

Store hours:

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Donations of gently used clothing and household items are being accepted by appointment only.

Please call 604.513.9319 to book an appointment

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